Toronto touts its flexible locations

Offers three-day tour to lure L.A. producers to Ontario

TORONTO -- For first-time Los Angeles producers in Toronto, nothing surprises as much as Canada's largest city doubling as New York City and Chicago, down to cop cars and mailboxes.

From "Chicago" and "Max Payne" to "Cinderella Man" and "The Incredible Hulk," local crews have proved especially skilled at scenic constructions and facades that depict Harlem or the Magnificent Mile.

So it's no surprise that the local burghers last week took another contingent of Los Angeles producers on a tour of local film and TV production facilities, to get them thinking Toronto when scouting possible locations for their next projects.

This time, the Ontario Media Development Corp.-led tour featured mostly indie producers that had never visited Toronto, or shot here, including reps from Summit Entertainment, CBS Films, River Road Entertainment, Focus Features and Sony Screen Gems.

Donna Zuchlinski, the OMDC's manager of industry development said the three-day tour featured more than telling U.S. producers how to turn Toronto's glass skyscrapers or inner-city neighborhoods into Boston or Prague.

The American producers also received a primer on how to bundle provincial and federal tax credits, or exploit Ontario's expanding stereoscopic 3D production expertise.

"The landscape has changed and now it's all about who has the best package," Zuchlinski said of local one-stop shopping for standing sets, actors, technical crews and post-production and animation facilities.

"We wanted them to leave with the feeling that Ontario has the total package of locations, infrastructure, personnel and tax credits," she added.